During my time reading the assorted editions of Mage the Ascension I encountered two different concepts, both named Domino Effect.

The Domino Effect v1

Is essentially a scheme employed by the awakened magician to turn a vulgar effect into a coincidental one via shadowing his true intention.

Example: If a mage wants a bungalow to explode, he can use a vulgar fireball. Using Domino Effect, the same mage can cause the gas valve to leak and a rat to chew on some wiring to cause a spark. This could be coincidental, but gas valves could be brand new and tested. So, the mage can add another domino piece to the effect, causing a car to ram into the house, disturbing the gas main, etc. The more domino pieces, the more coincidental the effect is.

The Domino Effect v2

It's essentially an local paradigm shift, based on gambler's fallacy. The idea is that with every coincidental but unlikely event in the same area the threshold of disbelief is lowered, as observers notice the low probability of all those things happening at once, making subsequent magick harder and harder (I remember additional +1 - +3 to difficulty) and ultimately vulgar . This is a rule to subvert casual use of intrinsically "soft" spheres like Entropy, Time (precognition) or Mind.

Say a covert combat between a technocracy agent and a Euthanatos mage happens on a suburban intersection. Truck nearly missing the mage (Mind) passes as coincidental, power outage (Forces) as well, but after the TV helicopter emergency lands on site (Entropy+Matter) and an enraged elk stampedes out of the nearby woods (Life+Mind), otherwise perfectly innocent effect like a convenient light change for the escaping mage turns out as very hard to pull off and vulgar. Note that non-magical complications do not strengthen the disbelief response, even if astronomically improbable.

So, my questions are: which one of those belongs to which edition (2nd ed and Revised)?

Are those two rules contradictory or not? It seems that v1 lowers the disbelief with each piece, while v2 increases the same.

Are there any guidelines on how exactly those are triggered and handled? Are there any lasting changes to local paradigm or do such actions have any specific resonance? How would the latter one be perceived from Umbra if at all?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tridus Why is the tag world-of-darkness better than classic-world-of-darkness? Wiki page says to use it as I did. There is an nwod tag, but not cwod... \$\endgroup\$
    – eimyr
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is (was) the only question tagged classic-world-of-darkness. I don't know why the tag wiki says to use it when it seems that it's never being used, but going by the question history, classic WoD questions are being tagged world-of-darkness (vs nwod for new World of Darkness). \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a meta question on the tagging, but it seems like it's not being done. Hopefully someone else will chime in on it. For now, I changed the tag to the one that's being used. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


It seems Mage Revised features what you call Domino effect v2. On page 151:

The Domino Effect

Wise mages who wish to avoid the nasty consequences of Paradox will attempt to disguise their magic in coincidental Effects. As the number of wild “coincidences” rise, however, they become harder to pull off. As an optional rule, a Storyteller can impose an additional difficulty penalty of one to coincidental magic difficulty rolls for every two such Effects over the first in one scene. The effects of this penalty are cumulative. After five co- incidental magic Effects, the difficulty for such magic increases by two. Storytellers should only count those Effects that cause massive change, such as pipes bursting, tires going flat and ammo dumps exploding. Coincidences that no one sees — sensory magic, Attribute increases, objects disappearing into pockets — should not increase the difficulty at all.

I don't know how Domino effect was ruled on 2nd edition. My first edition book doesn't list Domino on the glossary (as the revised does). Anyway, the application of the terms doesn't seem contradictory to me, as they point to different phenomena. On v1, you rely on accumulating causes to make an effect more plausible (I think that only work on the RBD paradigm). v2 is about creating too much coincidences that make the effect less plausible. These are different applications of magic and as such there is no contradiction.


I have read only Revised myself and v2 is definitely Revised.

Magic is about changing the Tapestry. The more you stretch it, the more rigid it becomes.


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